According to county records, Chester County once had 85 covered bridges, 21 of which were shared with other counties. The earliest recorded covered bridge in Chester County was built in 1807 and the most recent in 1899. Only 15 covered bridges remain today, the oldest being the Hall’s Sheeder Bridge built in 1850. The covered bridge played an important part in the transportation system of the County throughout the 19 th century. Many of the bridges were built to serve local mills and the transportation of agricultural produce to market.
The bridge in Valley Forge just reopened. How long will this one be down? With a crash like this, there is undoubtedly severe structural damage possible, isn’t there?
Why are people so hard on our covered bridges?
I have been told by someone who looked at the bridge who saw it after accident and said it was dark, but they could I’d see there were a few new gouges in the Burr truss timbers. They were going to see what they could see in daylight – fingers crossed.
Burr truss is the design – the combination of arch and multiple “King posts” – originally designed by Theodore Burr in around 1804 and patented in 1817. The bridge also interestingly enough has steel beams, and no weight limit. The truss structure really only supports the walls and roof.
But last time we went over this bridge I did notice that it had some deferred maintenance going on. I am not sure technically who owns the bridge. Is it PennDOT or Chester County. This is the oldest bridge in Chester County still in active use.